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Oakley Girls Track looks to the Past to Prepare for the Future
Hornet coach Heather Cranney hopes for a repeat of history in 2021
Published: 5/22/2020 1:45:29 PM
Ashley Mayes
Staff Writer

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Heather Cranney, like many coaches across Idaho, was hoping for a golden spring.

Gearing up for her fifth season leading the Oakley girls track team, Cranney’s Hornets were hot on the trail of a state championship after finishing second in 2019. 

“Raft River won last year and was going to be very tough again this year, but we anticipated competing very well at the state tournament as a team,” Cranney said. 

With nearly 50 participants (boys and girls) coming out for track this year, she was hoping to see at least half qualify for state.  

Cranney said she was excited about implementing a new training regimen this year, aimed at optimizing a likely talented Hornet team. However, the excitement was short-lived when spring sports across Idaho were canceled, temporarily at that time, on March 16. 

 “Everyone was excited to try this out.  We were three weeks into our workouts,” she said. “In fact, we had already participated in one meet by the time spring sports were shut down.” 

Oakley participated in their one and only meet this year, the Kimberly Spring Opener March 12.  It was at this meet that the Oakley girls track team provided a promising and competitive glimpse had the season continued. They placed third behind two larger schools Bear Lake (2A) and Kimberly (3A).  

With all sports officially canceled, Cranney looked at this as an opportunity to offer advice, especially to the seniors on the team.  

“Do not let go of your dreams,” Cranney said. “Sports are just a step in this journey.” 

Cranney said she also realizes coaches have to do their own work as well.  She hopes her work in sports psychology will in part translate to growing as a coach, thus resulting in having a better team. 

Part of growing as a coach includes balancing coaching and parenting. Cranney said she has one daughter on the team, Keely Cranney, a senior. Next year, her youngest son will be on the team, joining as a freshman. 

According to Cranney, one way to separate parenting from coaching is to rely on statistics.

“Numbers don't lie, she said. “Performance in every sport can be tracked so if you want to be more objective and make better decisions for your team, look at the numbers.”

Cranney also emphasized the need for well-defined rules and support from assistant coaches. 

“When I had two daughters on the team, I let an assistant make the decisions concerning relay personnel because I was worried about being objective,” she said. “As long as we are aware of and acknowledge our natural biases, they are much less likely to affect our team in a negative way.”

While Cranney is not the only coach experiencing the loss of a season and missed opportunities with young athletes, she said she is hopeful about next year. If she has a similar turn out next year to what she had in 2020, hopefully history repeats itself. 

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